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Effects of Simulated Defoliation on Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)-Infested Rangeland

  • Donald R. Kirby (a1), Thomas P. Hanson (a2), Kelly D. Krabbenhoft (a1) and Matt M. Kirby (a1)

Abstract

The effect of annual defoliation on leafy spurge-infested rangeland was investigated over a 5-yr period. Artificial defoliation was conducted once or twice annually at various phenological growth stages of leafy spurge to simulate grazing by herded Angora goats. Single defoliation treatments did not reduce total leafy spurge stem densities. Defoliation twice in a growing season for 4 consecutive yr reduced total leafy spurge stem densities by 55% over nondefoliated controls. Grass foliar cover and yield increased in all defoliation treatments. Despite the increased grass yield on single defoliation treatments, cattle use would likely be limited in these treatments due to the high density of leafy spurge stems. Stem densities of leafy spurge in twice-defoliated treatments should not deter cattle from grazing these sites, thereby increasing the available forage supply. The data suggest that repeated grazing of leafy spurge-infested rangeland within a growing season would be required to reduce stem densities adequately and increase cattle use and production from these sites.

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Effects of Simulated Defoliation on Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)-Infested Rangeland

  • Donald R. Kirby (a1), Thomas P. Hanson (a2), Kelly D. Krabbenhoft (a1) and Matt M. Kirby (a1)

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